During Super Bowl Opening Night at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix on Monday evening, the questions came hot and heavy for the Kelce boys. They will be the first pair of brothers to play each other in the Super Bowl—Kelce Bowl I—when Jason’s Philadelphia Eagles take on Travis’ Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.
Among the lead familial story lines? Jason’s wife, Kylie, is 38 weeks pregnant with their third child, yet still planning to attend the game with her doctor in tow.
“I’ll tell you what. If my [brother’s wife] has a baby during the game, we’re officially in his matrix,” Travis said. “It’s crazy the way things are lining up. It’s definitely a crazy scenario to be in.”
The Kelces’ mom, Donna, said she’s not picking sides right now, but because of the grandchildren, Travis said he knows the score.
“Jason has the little ones, which makes the heart grow fonder,” Travis said. “He definitely has [our] mama’s love more right now.”
Both brothers are star players with long resumes. Jason, a center, and Travis, a tight end, are each Pro Bowlers at their respective positions. Jason has a ring from Super Bowl LII in 2018, and Travis won one two years later, but lost to Tampa Bay in 2021.
“It’s rare that you have two players, brothers, at different positions, who are that great,” Howie Long, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and analyst for Fox Sports, said. “They’re both Hall of Famers.”
Asked for his own scouting report, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said it all starts with their innate talent.
“I’d say they’re pretty darned good,” Sirianni said. “What don’t they do?”
No matter what, Sunday’s result is going to snap the family Super Bowl tie. Who’s going to win? Inquiring minds want to know.
“I wish it was that easy,” Travis said. “But winning the game, that’s the mindset. I’m not going to poke the bear, because he can get riled up pretty quick.”
The brothers host a popular weekly podcast called “New Heights,” and this week’s edition features Donna and their father, Ed, a sales rep in the steel industry.
“In the light of the current situation in which Travis and I will be playing against each other in this upcoming Super Bowl, it appears that the entire country might want to hear from these two,” Jason said, leading into Monday’s podcast, subtitled the Kelce Bowl.
Asked on the podcast which son he would speak to first after the game, Ed quipped: “Probably the loser, somebody’s going to feel pretty crummy.”
Like Donna, Ed said he had no preferences as to who wins.
“I’ve already won,” he said in a raucous tone.
Jason Kelce was born in 1987 and his brother came into the world two years later. They grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and by all accounts were very competitive, “fighting all the time,” said Donna, who has become a celebrity herself in the weeks since both brothers won their respective championship games.
“Who won those fights?” asked Miles Waage, a sixth-grader from Des Moines, Iowa, who was designated as the Panini America Super Bowl kids reporter.
“Up until 13 years old, I was pretty much undefeated,” Jason said.
Back then, a pick-up basketball game would devolve into a mess of elbows and free-form fouling.
“That day he picked me up and slammed me on the kitchen floor,” Jason said. “Since then, it was, all right, we’re too big to do this anymore.”
Travis concurred. “Jason won every fight until the last fight. I’m not going to say I won, it would be silly to say I won. But I gave him my all, and he stopped fighting me after that. I held my own. That’s the way I remember it.”
Multi-talented, they played all the major sports against each other as kids, imagining making the winning play in the Stanley Cup Final, the World Series, the NBA Finals and the Super Bowl.
But opposing each other in the Super Bowl? You’ve got to be kidding.
“Never in our wildest imaginations did we think something like this would come true,” Jason said. “This is a pretty rare moment, obviously. You’d probably have a better shot winning the lottery than playing your brother in the Super Bowl. You couldn’t make up something like this.”
Jason’s Eagles overwhelmed the injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC, taking him to his second big game. Travis and the Chiefs beat the Bengals on a field goal in the closing seconds, reaching the Super Bowl for the third time in the past four years.
Going into the championship game, both quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his tight end were questionable because of injuries. Mahomes had a high right ankle sprain, and Travis suffered from back spasms. Both played and excelled, Mahomes throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns on 26-for-39 passing. The younger Kelce caught 10 of those passes for 99 yards and a TD.
Both say they’re feeling better going into Sunday’s big game, although Mahomes admitted this week he’s still not at 100%.
Travis said he’s no worse for the wear.
“I’m as healthy as I can be, 21 games into the season,” Travis said. “Everybody’s dealing with something at this point in the year. It’s been fortunate I haven’t had any more back spasms. I’m happy to be able to go out and practice and play in this game.”
It would hardly matter. Nothing’s going to deter these guys from meeting in Kelce Bowl I.